pen rainbow

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday—A New Week of Happiness

Grow a beautiful garden

What is happiness...and how do we make it last?

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about happiness.   I like happiness lists.  They are quick effective guides for stringing happiness along day-by-day.  And, they are always general enough that most people can get on board with at least some of the suggestions.

Here's a good one that's been making its way around the Internet.  It was written by blogger Jacob Sokol of

We are looking at the usual sensible tips:

✓  Gratitude
✓  Optimism
✓  Don't compare yourself to others
✓  Practice kindness
✓  Friends (real friends, not facebook friends)
✓  Coping skills
✓  Forgiveness
✓  Hobbies (flow)
✓  Stop & smell the roses
✓  Goals
✓  Find your spirit animal (spirituality)
✓  Healthy living

Lists like this make great reading on Sunday mornings when you're drinking coffee and surfing the blogosphere.

But out in the field of everyday life, or even worse, in the trenches of coping with insurmountable daily stress, these things fall to the wayside pretty quickly.
For instance, I embraced my spirit animal every day when my kids were in school.  Fourth-grade bullies and crackbrained parents brought out the Grizzly bear in me.  And, not the nice mother Grizzly that you see leading her cubs down to the river for some tasty salmon.  More like the 18-foot bear from the 1976 movie, Grizzly...

High school was no picnic, and the early 20's were much worse.  I drank a lot of wine during those years.  

I really do smell the roses, not just the rosé!  Got the healthy living thing down.  I garden and make crafts and take photography classes.  I set goals and achieve them.  I don't compare myself to anyone, don't need to.  I have lifelong friends, and I exercise forgiveness and gratitude on a daily basis.  I rescued a baby snake today!

A little California Pacific Ring-Necked snake stopped by to visit today
Non-venomous unless you're a salamander

It gets dicey when life intrudes in ways that are both expected and unexpected.  My friend, Kathy, is sleeping in her childhood bedroom this week because she is taking care of her father who is dying of heart failure.  

I told my 25-year old son today that he has three months to get a job and find someplace else to live.  My daughter is staring down the barrel of a divorce in a foreign country.  

So, here is my revised Happiness List for real people with real imperfect lives.

12 Things Happy People Think & Do

1.  This too shall pass   
2.  Pets are stress relievers 
3.  Stay away from people who stress you out
4.  Ski the mountain (be fearlessly resolute)
5.  Work the problem, not the person
6.  Solve big problems by breaking them down into little problems
7.  Get rid of stuff
8.  Learn new things
9.  Grow your own garden
10.  Move the dial
11.  Make a move (move away from horrible neighbors, find a new job, retire, kick your lying, cheating husband* to the curb)
12.  Take care of yourself (walk, eat healthfully, have a drink, go out to lunch/dinner, get enough sleep, look at the stars)

Bonus:  Spend time with people (& critters) who make you laugh

One of 4 stress relievers in our house

Have a great week!  
  * not Steve